The smallest continent in the world is Australia at just over 8.5 million square kilometers. Arbitrarily, Australia isn’t considered an island because it is so large, so the status of largest island in the world is awarded to Greenland at about one quarter the size of Australia. Australia is not only a continent unto itself, but also a country that includes Tasmania, and a number of small islands in the South Pacific. The population is approximately, 21 million people. The capital of Australia is Canberra, and its largest city is Sidney.
Amazingly, Australia has been inhabited for 42,000 years by the indigenous people. The Dutch made their first foray into the region in the 1600′s and the British established a prison colony in the 1770′s. Australia had been steadily severing ties with Britain since 1901 when they united their various colonies. They gained further independence in 1942 when they ratified the Statute of Westminster. The Australia Act was created in 1986 and formally eliminated all ties with Britain, although Australia remains a Commonwealth country. The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of 53 former colonies of the British Empire. Well known countries include Australia, Canada, UK, Jamaica and New Zealand.
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